About ENGL 1220 A

Representative topic: African-American Women Writers in the Twentieth- and Twenty-first Centuries. May be repeated for credit with different content. Topics vary by offering; periodic offering at intervals that may exceed four years. Cross-listed with: CRES 1825.


Open to Degree and PACE students

Section Description

Course Description We’ll start by considering that “race” (as a meaningful biological category, especially in the service of racial hierarchies) constitutes one of the most pernicious science fictions of recent human history. Pseudo-scientific narratives establishing fundamental, socially meaningful differences among “races” have rationalized slavery, segregation, and many other forms of oppression. It’s no surprise, then, that writers of science fiction and fantasy (often collectively labeled “speculative fiction” or “sf” these days) have been well-positioned to challenge racism and to expose its effects. The works we’ll read will frequently challenge basic assumptions about race (and class and gender), but they’ll also push us to read in new ways. Speculative Fiction challenges readers through shocks to the imagination as we’re invited to view our societies radically transformed and our texts playing by new rules. We’ll spend some of our time orienting ourselves in the new worlds and their new rules (which have implications in terms of social and literary models). As diverse readers ourselves, some of us may come to these texts with a background in fantasy, science fiction, dystopian narratives and the like; others will be new to these genres. Those with familiarity can teach us to see these texts through the eyes of experience; those who are new to this sort of work will teach us to see things we haven’t noticed yet! Course Materials The following books will be used. Additional texts will be made available in the Bb space. 1. Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora, edited by Sheree R. Thomas; Publisher: Aspect (Warner Books) ISBN-10: 0446677248; ISBN-13: 978-0446677240 2. Aye, Gomorrah, and Other Stories, by Samuel R. Delaney; Publisher: Vintage ISBN-10: 0375706712; ISBN-13: 978-0375706714 3. Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler; Publisher: Grand Central Publishing ISBN-10: 0446675504; ISBN-13: 978-0446675505 4. Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor; Publisher: Tor.com ISBN-10: 0765385252; ISBN-13: 978-0765385253 5. How Long Until Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin; Publisher: Orbit ISBN-10 :‎0316491373. ISBN-13‏: ‎ 978-0316491372

Section Expectation

We'll be using "specs grading" for this course. Students will be expected to attend class, complete readings in an active and timely way, participate in class discussion and achieve additional points through writing projects and optional activities, such as radio plays, illustrations, and presentations.


See above.

Important Dates

Note: These dates may change before registration begins.

Note: These dates may not be accurate for select courses during the Summer Session.

Last Day to Add
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Last Day to Withdraw with 50% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw with 25% Refund
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